LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin says he will be ready to make his first World Series start on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox, where he hopes to deliver a performance like the ones that helped South Korea capture Olympic gold in 2008.
Last season the lefty from Incheon failed to make the Dodgers’ World Series roster and could only watch from the dugout as his team fell in seven games to the Houston Astros.
However, with the Dodgers making it back to the Fall Classic the 31-year-old will get the chance to unleash his arsenal of off-speed pitches and silence the Red Sox’s bats in Game Two in Boston.
“Last year, because I couldn’t make the roster, I was more cheering for my team mates and making sure that they’re in their best moods,” he told reporters through an interpreter on Tuesday.
“But this year I actually have to go out there and perform ... and I’m getting ready for it.”
Ryu was outstanding at the Beijing Olympics a decade ago, throwing a complete game shutout against Canada before going 8 1/3 innings in a 3-2 win over Cuba in the gold medal game.
He recognizes the World Series is a different kind of challenge.
“The most drastic difference between the two is the Olympics, it all came down to that last game to win it all,” he said.
“Obviously with the World Series you have to win four out of the seven.
“It’s really hard to say that such experience would help me, because we’re talking about two different competitions.”
Ryu had an excellent regular season, posting a 7-3 record in 15 starts and a 1.97 ERA.
To find success at a hostile Fenway Park, however, he will need to improve on his last post-season outing where he lasted just three innings in a 7-2 road loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Six of the National League Championship Series.
Ryu said he struggled to control his curve ball and changeup against the Brewers but said his confidence has not been shaken.
“Looking back at it, if I actually commanded all of my off-speed pitches to get ahead in the count, I think there would have been a different result,” he said.
“Obviously tomorrow I’m going to use all of the pitches that I can throw and may try to command the pitches better.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford